A list of the top items to consider before you start a business
It seems like yesterday I started my journey as an entrepreneur and began Feathered Arrow Events! It was such an exciting (albeit terrifying) time in my life. Cut to 5 years later, I have learned a thing or two about running your own company. To help all you future budding entrepreneurs, I wanted to share the top 6 things you need to know to start a business!
Write A Business Plan
Drafting up a business plan is one of first things you need to do to start a business. A business plan is where you write out the details of what you’re selling (a product or service), how much you plan to charge and what you hope to make in a year. Additionally, list out all the expenses to get your business off the ground so you know whether you’re charging enough to make your business profitable. A business plan is also a great place to set goals for your business. Sounds overwhelming but don’t worry; this is just to get you started. You can (and should) tweak your business plan along the way.
Fully understanding the legal requirements required by your state or country in order to start a business iscrucial. There are so many steps you need to take to ensure you start a business legally and correctly. This is where you decide if your business will function as an LLC, Corporation, S Corp or DBA. Additionally, some states require business licenses, insurance, payroll, etc. The rules and requirements vary from state, and even county, so be sure you do your research and choose the best option based on your business. There may also be legal requirements for your website, especially if you collect potential customer information via a contact form. If you have the budget, I encourage you to seek a legal professional to help you sort through some of these steps, and even to help you set up a contract for clients.
Your Ideal Client
In your business plan, while thinking of what goods and/or services you’re providing, think of who you’re trying to sell to. And “everyone” is not an option because if you’re speaking to everyone, you’re speaking to no one. Once you’re able to breakdown the niche group of people you’re selling to, you’ll not only be able to serve them better, but you’ll be able to sell to them better. You can identify their pain points and create content you know will be intriguing to them.
Marketing for your business is everything that your business will put out into the universe to get attention. Think of your website, review sites, advertisements, newsletters, flyers, etc. Social media is a great form of marketing but shouldn’t be your only vessel. This goes hand in hand with understanding who your ideal client is so you know where to market to reach the most of your audience.
Keeping track of your finances will keep your new business a float. Whether you use a program like Quickbooks, or keep track in excel, you need a place where you can write down every dollar your business makes, and every dollar you spend on your business. My best piece of advice is to open up separate bank accounts just for your business. This is another place where hiring professional help is a great investment, if you can afford it. Hiring a CPA or accountant can help you set up a business bank account, ensure your business isn’t going in the red, and can even help you get things in place for tax seasons. They help you with all those deductions come tax time and help to save you money!
Understanding the reason you are doing your business is key. What is the driving force behind why you want to start a business? If your first thought was to make money, I’d encourage you to dig deeper. Being an entrepreneur requires a tremendous amount of passion and drive. No one will care about your business or your dreams if you don’t. There will be times of doubt and struggle but thinking back to your “why” will help you get through some of the tougher parts of starting a business by keeping you focused. When we know our why, we can wholeheartedly serve others and make our business successful.
If you’re ready to dive into your new business and looking for more insight, check out this blog postthat highlights a few books I highly recommend all young entrepreneurs read.